Community Links: Bede’s Welcomes Eastside Young Leaders
Bede's recently hosted a group of young people from EYLA, an organisation which looks to create boarding opportunities for African and Carribean children from East London.
In their own statement, 'EYLA exists to nurture and develop the leadership potential of young African and Caribbean males, empowering them to become the next generation of successful leaders' and the organisation has already placed a number of its young people at prestigious boarding schools such as Eton, Wellington and Rugby.
Ray Lewis, director of EYLA, and Anne Collard, co-founder of EYLA, made the journey from East London to Upper Dicker bringing with them fourteen fantastic pupils who were passionate, energetic and open to new experiences.
These pupils, known as EYLA Scholars, are taking part in a selection process with the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation (www.springboardbursaryfoundation.org.uk) to take up a place at a leading boarding school.
Part of the EYLA selection process requires them to visit a boarding school, and to meet and speak to students who are themselves boarders.
Bede's became a SpringBoard school in 2013 as a result of our innovative work with Looked After Children and in recognition of the excellent pastoral care we offer to all of our pupils. Moreover, Bede's is currently spearheading the Assisted Boarding for Looked after Children programme, which we started in 2012 and which is now being led by our LAC Co-ordinator, Dr Carroll.
As part of our partnership with SpringBoard, we were asked if we would welcome EYLA for a visit and this we did happily.
Ray Lewis and Bede's Head of Boarding, Ms Belrhiti
A number of Bede's students volunteered to take part in this event and had the pleasure to spend the morning with Year 6 and Year 8 EYLA Scholars. Ms Belrhiti, our Head of Boarding, welcomed the group in the Old Dining Room, and within minutes all the pupils mingled and chatted animatedly over drinks and pastries before touring the school.
A highlight of the tour came with a visit to our first class boarding houses, which Ray and Anne described as being the best they had seen.
As part of the tour, some students enjoyed an enthralling Art session with Ms Parris, and others spent time with Mr Turner who delighted the Scholars by teaching them how to develop their own pictures in the dark room. Both sessions enabled the EYLA pupils to show off their creative talents, which they did with some flair!
All the scholars were treated to a tour of the Animal Management Unit which included, amongst other things, a snake handling demonstration with Mr Juniper and Mr Jones.
Dr Carroll said, after the event, "It was a wonderful morning and was so pleasing to see how well the Bede's and EYLA integrated and worked together."
After a delicious lunch and photos on the lawn, fourteen excited EYLA scholars jumped back onto their bus to make the journey back to East London: they seemed blown away by the variety of experiences they had in one morning and I am sure that they will be talking about their visit for some time to come.
What a fabulous group of young people the Scholars are and we wish them all the very best in their upcoming applications!